"His First, Best Country Ever Is, At Home"
Context: In "The Traveller," Goldsmith's first long poem, an English wanderer who has been traveling about Europe sits down to rest on a rocky crag high in the Alps at a point where three great nations adjoin. As he surveys the magnificent prospect before him, he thinks back over his journey. He recalls the varieties of scenery, of climate, of government, of religion, and of national character which he has observed and comes to the conclusion that human happiness depends very little on political institutions but very much on the quality and ability of men's minds. Early in the poem, reflecting on the difficulty of finding a place where one can be truly happy, he observes that every man, no matter where he may travel, always thinks of his own homeland as the best:
Such is the patriot's boast, where'er we roam,His first, best country ever is, at home.And yet, perhaps, if countries we compare,And estimate the blessings which they share,Though patriots flatter, still shall wisdom findAn equal portion dealt to all mankind.